More than once, attempting a story of high and passionate love--in this book, for example, and still more recklessly in my tale of Sir John Constantine--I have had to pause and ask myself the elementary question: Can such a story, if at once true and exemplary, conclude otherwise than in sorrow?
ed by a smile; bred among priests and designed to be a priest; yet amid a thousand admonishments, chastisements, encouragements, blandishments, the child--with a child's sure instinct for sincerity--could not remember having been spoken to sincerely, with heart open to heart. Years later, when in the seminary at Douai the little worm of scepticism began to stir in his brain and grow, feeding on the books of M. Voltaire and other forbidden writings, he wondered if his many tutors had been, one and all, unconsciously prescient. But he was an honest lad. He threw up the seminary, returned to Cleeve Court, and announced with tears to his mother (his father had died two years before) that he could not be a priest. She told him, stonily, that he had disappointed her dearest hopes and broken her heart. His brother--the Squire now, and a prig from his cradle--took him out for a long walk, argued with him as with a fractious child, and, without attending to his answers, finally gave him up as a bad job. So an ensigncy